Ruling BJD, which is witnessing a continuous inflow of leaders from rival parties, on Tuesday indicated that it may not re-nominate all sitting legislators for the Assembly and Parliamentary elections even as some party leaders announced unwillingness to contest the polls. BJD Vice-President Kalpataru Das said the party was all set to announce the first list of candidates by Thursday.
"However, all sitting MLAs may not be renominated," Das said. To a question, Das said allegations of corruption, criminal background, winning prospect and loyalty to the party were yardsticks for selection of candidates for the BJD. In a boost to the party, senior Odisha 'Janmorcha' leader Sarat Mishra and BJP leader Antarjami Gamang on Tuesday joined BJD in the presence of party president Naveen Patnaik.
While Sarat Mishra was the treasurer of the OJM headed by Rajya Sabha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra, Gamang was the president of BJP's Jan Jati Morcha. Mishra chose to walk out of OJM after the party issued a press release last Monday announcing withdrawal of his candidature from an Assembly seat in Bhubaneswar (north) and accused him of being 'untrustworthy'.
Koraput MP Jayram Pangi expressed his unwillingness to contest the upcoming polls, saying he was unwell. "I have informed the BJD supremo about my wish. As I have undergone a surgery at AIIMS, it will not be possible for me to participate in the polls," Pangi told reporters outside the residence of Chief Minister.
Pangi is the second leader in the state after BJP's Hitesh Bagarti to have expressed unwillingness to contest the polls. Bagarti, MLA from Khariar, was re-nominated by his party to conest from the same place. Former Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Bhupinder Singh, who joined the BJD recently, also said he was not interested in contesting the polls this time, though he would campaign for the party.
Exodus from Congress also continued. Two senior leaders, OPCC secretary Bharati Das and state party spokesman Ashok Samal announced their resignation from Congress alleging that senior leaders and party workers were being completely ignored in the party.
Parliamentary and state Assembly elections are scheduled to be held simultaneously in Odisha in two phases on April 10 and 17.